Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Donuts

I think someone is watching out for me. I think someone knows I have very little will power when it comes to  some things and someone is trying to help me out.

For years now I've had a real affinity for a specific type of donut made by Entenmann's. It's a devil's food crumb donut, covered with crunchy glaze and crumbs and unbelievably delicious. I have always had a hard time walking by them at the grocery store if I know they've been delivered that morning. (I can easily resist the ones that are a day or two old - not the same at all!) Then once I buy a box and get them home I can't keep my hands (or my mouth) away from them. So they are a dangerous thing for me.

Nut for many months now I've noticed that they no longer seem to come in a box by them selves. I only see them in a mixed donut box, all chocolate varieties, some with sprinkles and some with chocolate covering. All of those are easy for me to resist.

Fortunately for me, my mother instilled in me a strong sense of not wasting anything. I could never bring myself to buy a box of 8 donuts, eat 2, and throw 6 away. So...I don't buy them. But every week as I walk by that Entenmann's display I look to see if there may finally be a box of my favorite donuts, all by themselves. It's been many months. The only time I get one is when I know the grandchildren are coming over and will eat the ones I don't like.

Sometimes I realize its a sad thing. But other times I just prefer to think that this is how my guardian angel looks over me...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy

My son had twins in September. What are the chances one would have the same name as the worst storm to hit our area in years? Poor little Sandy - she may inherit a nickname that carries her through life. Some in the family are already calling her "Hurricane".

I'm actually writing this post on Monday because I'm not sure how our power will hold out. At this writing the storm is still not here in full force - its windy out there but there isn't much rain and it feels like any autumn nor'easter. But the beaches are taking a pounding and we know erosion is going to be bad. We're especially worried about Georgica, which took a pounding last year when Hurricane Irene brushed by us. I think they'll all show the effects but there are some houses along Georgica that may be in real trouble before Sandy leaves us in another thirty hours or so.

We are pretty well equipped to handle storms here - we've been dealing with them for hundreds of years and we're seafarers by nature so we know what to expect. But this one is a bit of an enigma and I'm watching with concern but not panic. We shall see what happens.

If all is well tomorrow I'll be back on with an update but in the meantime I'm posting some blogs ahead of time so there will be something here in the morning. If it doesn't refer to the storm you'll know my power is probably out! And in the meantime our hatches are battened down and we're ready for the onslaught.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Walking

I enjoy walking early in the morning with a friend. Well, I shouldn't say I enjoy walking - the walking is hard.
My friend walks much faster than I so by the time our hour is over I am totally sucking wind. What I enjoy is the companionship and the scenery and the feeling that I'm doing something good for myself. I know how important it is to exercise. So - it's all good.

Every day we walk around residential streets. We leave from my house and either head up Egypt Lane or into the business district and then wind our way down any one of many streets like David's Lane, Pondview. Middle or Hither, eventually finding our way back to my driveway after about an hour. It's dark when we leave at 6:30 but by the time we get home its light outside.

Along the way we see lots of deer grazing in people's yards, and we often watch the sky turn from pink to blue as the sun comes up. Right now the trees are beautiful. I especially love walking through the estate section because we can see between the hedges in a way that's not possible from a car. Occasionally we pass another walker but not too often. When we're on Main Street the traffic is so heavy its hard to have conversation, but once we turn off onto side streets it peaceful and calm and few cars appear along the way.

It's the perfect way to accomplish an unpleasant task, which is what I consider all forms of exercise to be. This is more palatable because I do it with company. Everything is better with a friend. And the scenery doesn't hurt either. I hope the cold weather stays away for a god long time. I don't mind the cold, but ice and snow are another matter....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Facebook gift

About six months ago I put a simple post on Facebook that said something along the lines of this: Anyone out there interested in helping me do a cancer fundraiser this fall? Simple as that. Within a day I had about 6 volunteers and I knew I could do what I wanted to do. I only needed a little help!

Last night the event took place. I was amazed at the way these ladies jumped in and made this event a success. They gathered raffle prizes, sold raffle and event tickets, found items for the silent auction, and took time out of their busy schedules to make meetings. And then yesterday they formed an amazingly efficient cadre of strong amazing women who set-up the venue, worked the party, and helped clean things up afterward. We were all tired at evenings end, but what a great feeling it was to know that our hard work had made money for local cancer charities.

And it all started with Facebook. As one of the members of the baby boomer crowd I don't take to technology the way my children do. To them, its second nature to use a computer, do searches, text friends, etc - but to me its all a bit of work. But this experience proved to me that Facebook is an amazing tool that can do really good things if its used correctly. With all the bad press that it gets from teens using it for bullying , or hooking up with the wrong people, or any one of a number of other things, I think its important to at least show the positive side. And there certainly is one.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Broadway

I've been enjoying a television series on PBS about the history of Broadway. Each segment covers another period of time and I've really been enlightened about the stories behind so many of the wonderful shows and pieces of music that I've enjoyed in my life. Broadway shows have always been one of my favorite things, dating back to when I was in Junior High School when my mother bought me a series of records with original Broadway casts. I memorized every one of them. I never actually saw a real Broadway show until I was a senior in high school and a friend and I went in to see "Applause" with Lauren Bacall. But I knew I loved it nevertheless.

What has really struck me though is the early black and white footage of some of the shows from the 30 and 40s. The songs are all so familiar and the casts were made up of people I remember seeing on television variety shows in the 60s, like Ethel Merman for instance. The fact that these clips looks like ancient history have made me really think about how old I am. Was it really almost 50 years ago when I first stepped into a Broadway theater? How is that possible?

I feel blessed to be able to say I've lived a long life and some would say I still haven't. But seeing the history of Broadway on PBS certainly makes me thing I have.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Night hours

One of the medications I take causes insomnia. Combining that with being an ambulance volunteer who can be called out at all hour means some nights I don't get much sleep. Which means many hours up during the night.

Being awake in the middle of the night is frustrating. There is very little on television to watch and there is no one else to talk to. You can't even call a friend on the phone because you know your call will not be welcome! So - what does one do at 3am on any given night? Sometimes I blog. I can write blogs ahead of time and schedule them to post on a future date. Sometimes that work and sometimes it doesn't. I have had the experience of reading a post written at 3am and wondered where in the world it had come from. Was that me? Did I really say that? And of course sometimes the posting head of time causes problems, recently resulting in two posts showing up on the same morning. So blogging is not always the best solution.

I can't read because I don't have my contact lenses in at 3am. I can't make too much noise because my husband is still soundly snoring upstairs and I don't want to wake him. Sometimes I fantasize about a husband coming down the stairs in a robe, asking why I'm up, and then sitting to spend some time with me talking about the kind of things mine never talks about. But in nearly 40 years that has never happened so it remains in the fantasy catagory forever.

Well - if I ever run into a good idea about what to do during those miserable waking hours in the dark I'll be sure to pass them along. So far nothing. Perhaps I need some painting supplies...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

British

I wish I'd been brought up in Britain. Not because I'm an Anglophile or anything, but just because I love the way they speak.

We're deeply into the series "Upstairs, Downstairs" on PBS and I loved the story line, the actors, and the scenery. I'm also a lover of period pieces so I enjoy the setting during the war years. But most of all, I love listening to them talk. I love the way they say things, but I also love the way they turn a phrase. I adore the sarcasm and the way they use perfect passive-aggressive tactics in the way they turn a phrase.

I would love to speak the way they did in 1940s England. It somehow makes a person suddenly sophisticated and worldly all at a time and totally intelligent too. No cockney accents in that series - only the most refined and wonderful sounds that Professor Henry Higgins would be completely pleased with.

Well, I can't help where I was born. And since my ninth great-grandfather left Charde, England back in 1640 to make his way to these shores for a new life, I guess I shouldn't complain. Had he not, I would no doubt be British. Then again I probably wouldn't exist at all. And so goes life!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Flannel

I've always been a big fan of flannel and I'm thrilled that the temperatures are finally dropping low enough to use it again. I have all my flannel shirts hanging in the closet and ready to go. It's not quite cold enough to pull out the flannel sheets, but in another month or so, I'll be living in flannel.

There's something about a plaid flannel shirt that is both satisfying and comfortable. I don't think I've ever owned a solid colored one - only plaid for me. I prefer more feminine colors in mine but just about anything will do.

Denim and flannel. I think its the perfect combination for October through April.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Memories

Every once in awhile at this time of the year I think about what my life was like 38 years ago. It was the autumn of 1974 and my dearest friend and I were both planning our weddings. Hers was in October - mine in November. throughout the summer and fall we spent time planning each other's showers and going to fittings. We helped each other work on all the little details and worked our way through a crazy time - together. And thus its been throughout our lives.

In the past few years we've been there for each other, both emotionally and physically, as we've faced cancer treatments and navigated the complicated waters of the medical system. We've cheered each other on and supported each other throughout the hardest of times. We're both survivors now and hope to be there for each other way into old age, because after all these years of knowing we were there for each other as we worked though the tricky waters of marriage, children, divorce, grandchildren, and the illnesses and deaths of our parents, neither of us can imagine life without the other.

All these thoughts have been running through my head this month as her anniversary date passed and mine approaches. Lives in retrospect, and love in action. Hopefully, everyone has a friend like mine. I'm not sure what I'd do without her.

Twins

My son and daughter-in-law had twin girls in September and its a new experience for us. We've had four children and seven other grandchildren, but never twins. New experiences are always exciting!

These girls are about the same size but don't look alike. In fact its fairly easy to tell them apart, which is helpful.

I'm not sure how people manage these days with multiples - just dealing with car seats alone would keep me home all day. I find one  to be challenging enough - and now people have as many as eight at a time! How is that even do-able?

Well I know the work is worth the effort at the end of the day. No one would trade one in for a later model. And these girls, like all babies, are both pretty special. Perhaps if I were thirty years younger it wouldn't seem so overwhelming.  Youth is, of course, always a good thing to have when dealing with babies. Especially with twins.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Surf

Last weekend the surf was crazy. I love it when its wild and big, especially when the sun is shining and there isn't a storm in sight. I could sit and watch it for hours, hearing the roar and watching the foam and whitewater tumble and twist as it rolls.

The weather has been exceptionally nice this past week with sunny days and warm temperatures. In fact it was downright hot last weekend and cleaning the house was not fun. I'm not prepared for humidity in October. I expect it in August - but this time of year I look forward to being able to work hard without breaking a big sweat. I like warm days - but no humidity thank you very much! This has been a really nice month and I'm enjoying autumn.

We haven't even wanted to turn the heat on year this year, although I did use the gas fireplace two mornings a couple weeks ago. Since then though we've settled into a bit of a warming trend, as the meteorologists say. I'm not sure how long this will last but I'm enjoying it while it does. Sunny days and warm temperatures - always welcome. Winter may be coming, but right now autumn is fully in charge.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Granola

I have a love/hate relationship with granola. I love to eat it but I hate the calories it carries.

I used to make my own granola from a recipe someone gave me years ago. It was a delight to make because   the aroma was wonderful as it baked in the oven, and then eating it was great too because it was delicious. I ate it every morning for a couple years, until I decided, in an effort to lose some weight, to break it down and count the calories. Yikes. all those things, like nuts and brown sugar, that made it taste so good also packed on the pounds. So I stopped eating it altogether and switched to cheerios.

But cheerios didn't quite do it for me. So I started exploring other options, including some packaged granolas. The problem is that they do an equally good job of adding the calories so I was stumped until I figured out how to make a mix of cereals that would both satisfy me and keep the pounds off. I mixed a low-calorie, high fiber cereal filling most of my small cereal bowl with that, with some higher calorie granola that tastes much better than the low-calorie brand. Then I top it off with about a tablespoon of sliced raw almonds for protein. It's a great combination of taste, fiber, and much lower calories.

Sometimes it takes years of research to come up with something brilliant. Even if its only breakfast.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Manuals

Why is it so hard to get a user's manual these days? I am lost without one.

I know this is the age of technology and I have been grateful to be able to look up users manuals online in the past for appliances which no longer seem to have hard copies of them. I always try to hang on to them but sometimes they disappear. So I appreciate the ability to find answers when necessary. But I much prefer something I can hold in my hands and read,

But now I have a new cell phone. There is no users manual for this phone. It came with nothing. I am lost.

When I buy a new car the first thing I do is read the manual from cover to cover. I study the photos and I read the pages about trouble shooting. I study the dials and knobs in the illustrations and I learn how to use the heat and air conditioning and I know how to open the trunk and the hood. I need that manual and I refer to it often in the months after the new car comes home. I pull it out when I can't remember how to turn on the windshield washers or electric seat heaters. I love my car manual!

Now there are cell phones with no manuals. Everyone tells me to "google" anything I need to know. Now that's convenient! First I have to find a computer (not always close at hand), then I have to search around for the answer to the question I have, then I need to print it out if I want to try and remember how to do that particular thing so I can refer to it later. It's a lot of bother.

I just don't need more bother in my life....

Friday, October 19, 2012

Earned pleasures

In our marriage we spent many years counting pennies and doing without. We made the choice early on for me to stay at home with my children instead of going back to work and we paid a high price for that choice in certain ways. But once we got them through college and out on their own, we began to be able to enjoy a few small special pleasure we could never have imagined years ago. For instance, we have granite counter tops now, which are a wonderful upgrade from the formica we had for so many years. We have a car that has the latest technology onboard. And we both have smart phones. These were things that would have been impossible twenty years ago. I never resented not having things like that then, but I certainly love them now! Even things as simple as paper towels seem like a luxury to me because for many years I did without them, using a wash rag and dishtowels for all my counter and dish cleaning.

The most wonderful thing about doing without little things like that for so long as that I never take them for granted. I often clean my counter while enjoying the grain in the stone and thinking about how lovely it is. I send a text on my cell phone and smile at the wonder of the technology. And I send up a little word of thanks every time I get into my pretty red car.

It's the pleasures that we earned that mean the most!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gas

The gas fireplace has finally been turned on a few times this fall and I'm so glad to have it. We installed it a couple years ago after years of using the regular 1940s version, dragging wood into the house and saving newspapers to use for starting the fires. Now its a simple matter of making sure the batteries are fresh in the remote control. In minutes I have nice warm air flowing through the grates, taking the chill out of the air and making the house more comfortable on cold autumn mornings.

Here's what I love about the gas fireplace: it's quick, it doesn't make a mess, and it helps heat the house instead of drawing heat out of the chimney. Here's what I don't like about it: no wood-burning smell and no crackling sound.

I'm thinking if someone can come up with a way to give the average person those two sensual pleasures along with their gas inserts, no one will ever put in a regular fireplace again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vistas

Last weekend I had to attend an all-day retreat for a local board that I sit on. It was held at Sebonack Golf Club, which I've never been to before, in Southampton. It's a fairly new course and known to be extremely expensive to join so it isn't someplace most of us have been able to visit. What a treat it was to be able to be there on this particular October day.

I drove onto the grounds about 7:55 in the morning as the retreat started at 8. The sun was low in the sky and everything had that beautiful morning glow about it. The grass shone in the morning light and the clubhouse looked very inviting. We were in a room upstairs in this gorgeous building and the foyer had a staircase leading up that wrapped around to one side and then turned into a railing that followed the inner circumference of the space. It all gleamed in the early light and looked as bright and fresh as a new penny. The room at the top of the stairs opened up onto a second floor deck that wrapped around the outside of the back, overlooking the bay. The view, on this wonderful brisk October day was beyond breathtaking. It was heart stopping.

I spent the day looking out over that view while listening to the various speakers, and I concentrated hard to take in what was being offered because the distraction was almost too much. An occasional sailboat crossed the horizon, passing through one window after another, traversing the bay back and forth. The sky was incredibly blue and the water like sapphire. I could have settled in for a very long time, just watching the scenery. What an amazingly beautiful place it was.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Smart friends

Last week I posted about Columbus Day, mistakenly calling it Columbus' birthday. A friend wrote to let me know that it was not his birthday, but rather the day he arrived in North America. How interesting! And who knew? (Hopefully not everyone but me....)

I love learning new facts and that's a classic one. But it raises questions in my mind as well. I mean, I know of course that the year is well known when Columbus came to North American. But the exact day? That's pretty impressive. I suppose there must have been a ship's log, or maybe letters home, or some other definitive way of knowing, but how accurate would any of those things have been anyway? Well, no matter - however it was decided I guess that October 12th is apparently the day that Columbus first set his eyes on this continent. A good fact to know.

I love knowing people who know things. I love finding out that something I always thought or believed to be true is in fact not. It doesn't make me feel stupid but it does make me feel enlightened. And being enlightened is such a wonderful thing.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mid-month

So we are officially halfway through the month of October now and life in East Hampton is great. The trees are turning color, some half way there, some with small patches of bright orange, some still nice and green. No frost yet so my flowers on the deck have never looked better - not scorched by the sun or wilted by the heat but absolutely flourishing and beautiful. It won't last long now but its so nice to see.

Pumpkins are everywhere. I see them in doorways, on back stoops, along property lines, and decorating businesses. I've even seen some jack-o-lanterns already, which is a bit early, but cute at night after dark. I also enjoy seeing people begin to bundle up against the chill, with colorful sweatshirts and wool sweaters coming out of their closets. We have yet to get to a high school football game but hopefully before the season is over we will make at least one. Our Saturdays have been busy this season, with so many projects in and around the house to take care of.

East Hampton begins to feel like a New England town in the autumn and makes me want to head north to see the maple trees being tapped and the mountains ablaze with color. I love this season and all it means, especially the approaching holidays. It's a good time to live here, enjoying the scenery and counting the pumpkins everywhere.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Apples

Last week we went apple picking with the grand kids over in Water Mill. I love the fact that they have dwarf trees so the kid can pick them easily, and they were big and ripe and gorgeous on the branches, red and green and fat and juicy. The kids had a ball and it went way too fast, a large bag filling up quickly. It seemed pretty pricey to me and I wondered why. It seems to me it should be cheaper if we're picking our own, but now I think we're paying for the experience. No matter, it was fun and I enjoyed it.

The kids are good ages for that kind of an adventure. My daughter's three boys are ages 10, 7, and 4 and my son's little girl is 2 so the older boys treat her like a little sister and she was in rare form, squealing with delight as she ran down the aisles of the different varieties.

I love the way the East End has transformed its agricultural heritage over the years. When I was young all those farm fields were producing potatoes, cauliflower, and corn but now there are wineries and apple orchards on those fields and the wisest of the farmers have found ways to make their land work for them in a changing economy.  There is still plenty of produce grown for the farm stands and the other fields are now crawling with families, out picking apples on warm sunny autumn days. It's a really nice thing. And those apples are really good.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"Parenthood" the TV show

I like the television show called "Parenthood" on Tuesday nights. But a new story line is hitting very close to home and I can't decide whether its good or bad for me emotionally to be watching it. It may be cathartic - or it may be depressing. I haven't figured it out yet.

The new story line involved a woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. And it all rings very true. the emotions she's dealing with - the guilt for putting her family through the trauma, for instance - is all very recognizable. The other people's reactions are also pretty accurate - some of which we'll see tonight more closely. When I watch it I am very much drawn into the reality of it all and my own life feels as though its right there on the screen.

Sometimes reality television has nothing to do with things like "Survivor" or "Dancing With the Stars". Sometimes it's more about how we connect to the story, real or not. In this case its very real.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Columbus

If I'm not mistaken, this is the actual date that Christopher Columbus was born. The reason I believe that is that when I was young, Columbus Day was always celebrated on October 12th.  It didn't always fall on a Monday and it was always the same date. So I guess this is his birthday,

It's funny how we in this country feel free to change dates like birthdays around to be more convenient for us. Obviously Martin Luther King's birthday is not a different day every year. And I've already complained about how "President's Day" has replaced February 12th (Lincoln's birthday) and February 22nd (Washington's birthday) as holidays in the winter. Somehow we seem to have lost the point of celebrating birthdays!

Well, I will always remember that October 12th is Christopher Columbus' birthday. Maybe that counts for something?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bonac Bliss

Nothing is lovelier in the autumn than East Hampton. I've bee to other beautiful places - New England is spectacular with the incredible fall foliage, for sure, and Pennsylvania is also a wonderful place with farms loaded with pumpkins and corn stalks decorating every house. But East Hampton is special to me for other reasons. The autumn reminds me of years spent getting back into the school year, of football games and hickey games, of tryouts for school plays and homework done on the front porch in the waning afternoon sun. It means days still warm enough for a walk on the beach followed quickly by days so chilly we grab our wool sweaters and dig around in the closet for gloves so the steering wheel isn't quite so cold.

Because autumn in East Hampton is about memories for me, and so many of the best ones were created in the months of October and November.They're magical months for us here because here is where we've lived our lives. And where we'll continue to live out days in the warmth of the autumn suns, however many there may be left for us, right here in Bonac.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Motivations

I am constantly puzzled by the motivations behind the things people say and do. What makes them tick and why do they act the way they do? Humans are such an enigma to me!

For instance-over the past few years I've been working at various cancer fundraising events, all of them in the Southampton area. It occurred to me last year that we should do something in East Hampton, where there were plenty of people who would come if it were in their neighborhood. So then the question was what to do - no need to duplicate what is already done so what could we do that would be different. The decision was made to do something in a different price range, a bit more expensive, but at a club and perhaps appealing to a group of people who have not yet attended one of these other events.

For months the committee has been working on this event, obtaining raffle items and silent auction items, selling tickets, and planning for the big night. when some publicity came out on a local web site, someone made an anonymous comment about how perhaps the people going to this event should take the money they would spend on their jewelry and clothes and just give that to the charity and it might be more successful. Seriously? I mean, why would anyone make such a negative comment about a charity event that people have been putting their heart and soul into?

I've been contemplating the many possible explanations, like resentment over a price they cannot afford, or bitterness over anything at a "club", but none of them make much sense to me. I couldn't afford to attend a $1000 a plate political fundraiser, but I certainly don't resent those that can and I certainly would never disparage anyone for doing the work to raise money for their candidate! The whole thing is just beyond my comprehension. And truthfully I think it goes back to the notion that the internet is a dangerous thing in that it allows people to be mean or hateful or critical in an anonymous manner and they feel free to say things that simple courtesy would normally prevent.

Like I said - humans are strange beings. And I will never understand them!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Aniversaries

My daughter's birthday is today, but yesterday felt like the anniversary of the day she was born, because in 1978, Columbus Day happened to be October 9th. It was a holiday and my husband was home from work, outside doing some yard work when I decided it was time to head to the hospital.

It's amazing how firmly embedded certain memories are in our minds so many years later. Like the day my youngest sister came home from the hospital over 50 years ago - I still remember it so clearly! Among those amazing memories are our weddings, and the births of our children - the day I sat with my mother in the hospital and heard that she was fatally ill. All memories that are unforgettable for sure. And each of those four days, my children's birthdays, are strong memories and I can recall each one easily. Every detail in stark relief, every emotion easily called up. the human mind is an amazing thing.

So today may be her actual birthday, but yesterday I relived that Columbus Day so many years ago. Because Columbus Day will never be the same to me again. Happy Birthday sweetie!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sleepless in East Hampton

Last night was one of those long nights. Although I was tired, I tossed and turned and couldn't sleep. I listened to the rain as it filled the gutter and poured onto the deck as though from an open faucet, and heard the puddles splash onto passing cars as they drove down my street. I tried in vain to empty my mind but there were too many thing rolling around in there, worries and responsibilities that wouldn't rest. Finally, I came downstairs to spend a bit more time in front of the TV.

In my almost 40 years of marriage, I don't think my husband has ever had a sleepless night. He's never come downstairs or tossed and turned - he always sleeps like a bear in hibernation. How is it possible that he can turn off his mind so easily every night but for me its always a struggle.

Well, no matter really, it is what it is. I often get to catch up on some interesting television that I wouldn't be watching if he were alongside me on the couch, like almost anything on PBS. I suppose there are compensations!

The rain would eventually help me sleep, pounding away at the windows and running down the gutters, white noise in a rhythmic cadence, reminding me that morning was going to come soon enough, ready or not. Another long night but no matter. Life is good.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Smart phone

Last week I went to the Verizon store with my husband and bought my first "smart" phone. I've been able to text before and had a keyboard on my phone, but no internet access and none of the fun things most people have on theirs. When we bought our car in April it came with blue  tooth capabilities and I've been using it a lot when I'm in my car, hands-free and all that. But I am looking forward to having a phone that I can use in my car with voice recognition, as in "Call Joe" instead of having to punch in the numbers and then toss the phone in the space provided in my car. Safer for sure.

Anyway, at the store the very nice young man showed me all the amazing things this phone could do. I kept thinking about my grandparents and wondering what they would think about this thing. After all, they remembered life before telephones or televisions so this technology would be a bit mind-boggling I imagine.

Then as he continued to show me the things I would be able to do, like watching movies or listening to music, I had another thought which was even more sobering: I'm not sure what good a smart phone is if you don't have a smart person using it. I may be doomed.....

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fantasy

I have to admit to loving the television series :Once Upon a Time". It's pure fantasy of the most delicious type and I absolutely eat it up.

It seems as though a little fantasy is a good thing in life. It's a way of escape - a vacation if you will - from the drudgery or difficulties of life. Anyone can spend a few moments - or  few hours - in another place or time, as another person or in another life - and then return to their real life renewed and refreshed, ready for what may come.

And this TV show is the perfect fantasy escape. It takes all the story book characters that we grew up loving and brings them into modern times. It's a retelling of all the wonderful stories like "Snow White" and "Cinderella" and the richly drawn characters like Rumpelstiltskin and King Midas. Each week we are transported between the present day and the world of fantasy - the world of "happily ever after" - and I am content at the end of every episode to come back to my own world, thinking about how sweet a world of happily ever afters would truly be.....


Friday, October 5, 2012

Today

Today will be a really good day. It could rain or be windy and it could even snow and I'd still feel the same way. Because today is my husband's birthday.

Not only that but my daughter and her family are coming for the weekend today. So the house will be full of energy and love and I can't wait for it all to unfold. And that reminds me that it truly is the simple things in life that make it special. "The best things in life are free" as the song says - love, family (well - not exactly free), sunshine, health - these are the things that are part of our lives that give us the greatest joy and today I'll experience them all.

It was a very good day when my husband was born, although I didn't know it at the time. I wasn't even born at the time so I was totally unaware of the significance of the date. But for the past nearly 40 years it's been one of my favorite squares on my calendar grid. And its followed by another - my daughter's birthday which is on the 9th. Even more reasons that October is one of my favorite months.

This weekend is about family. And about all the other things that make our lives wonderful. Here's to a great few days ahead!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dover

For many years now my husband has been going to the NASCAR races at Dover Downs every September. And every year without fail someone asks me if I'm going with him. Seriously?

Here is what the races consist of: you sit about 16 rows up in bleachers and you are given about 12 inches of space for your rear end to sit on. Packed like sardines, it's nearly impossible to leave at any time to use a rest room. (Of course, crowds being what they are, who would even want to use one of those public restrooms anyway?) The noise is incredible. So loud in fact that most spectators wear ear phones. And this lasts for hours.

Let's see. Would I want to spend 4 hours in the same position, cheek to cheek total with strangers, unable to communicate with anyone in any way, watching cars drive around in circles? I think not!

Here's the crazy part to me: if I were to check in at home and follow the race, I would see all the same things without suffering any of the negative aspects of the actual race. This truly must be a male/female thing because I don't get it at all. And for future reference, I did not, and will never, go along on the trip.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mom gene

Research has recently come to light that suggests there is something called the "mom gene".Apparently they feel that they may be a genetic predisposition to be a mother - something that gives us the desire and ability to be a good mother.

I'm not sure if I believe its a genetic thing. I mean, its possible I suppose, but it seems odd to me. And I'll tell you why.

There seem to be some girls who are maternal from the very beginning. We all knew them when we were younger - they loved their dolls and they loved kids. The made the best babysitters and we all knew who they were. I was not one of them. When I did babysitting it was a job for me - I did everything I was supposed to do to the best of my ability, but I had no thrill in it! When I grew up I wasn't sure I would ever have children. I wasn't crazy about them, to tell you the truth.But then, everything changed.

We didn't plan our first - it was a shock to say the least when we discovered I was pregnant only a short time after we were married. I was scared to death and had no idea how I was going to manage. But then she was here, this perfect little person so beautiful and perfect, and guess who was in charge of her? Suddenly nothing was the same and I discovered a love I never imagined existed and a purpose to my life I couldn't have planned for. I became a mother and would go on to repeat that miracle three more times. And it was the best thing I've ever done in my life.

So I don't know if I had the "mom gene". And here's the thing - my son, who always said he was never going to have children, just had twins. Is there a "dad gene" too? It's a curious question!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October

The word "October" beings immediate visions to mind. I think about pumpkins and falling leaves, color in every direction, wool sweaters and chilly winds. There are sounds as well - like the cadence of the marching band at the beginning of a high school football game, or the crackling of dried leaves underfoot. And some of my favorite smells come in October too! I can't wait to catch a whiff of smoke from the first fireplace lighting of the season, or an apple pie in the oven.

It's a season of sensual pleasures now and its easy to miss them if we're not careful! Sometimes we move so quickly from one appointment to another, or rush from job to grocery store to home, picking up children and dry cleaning along the way, that we forget to stop long enough to appreciate what a beautiful month October really is. I love everything about it and I'm anticipating every day of it. Life is such a gift and part of the gift is the trappings - the wrapping paper, the ribbons, the card - so easily overlooked in the rush to get to the box. Being a cancer survivor makes me more aware of the wrappings and more likely to relish each part of the process. I've learned not to be in such a hurry to throw off the beautiful outer layers. And right now those layers are especially attractive. I'm going to peel them away them away with relish...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gifting

I am about half done with my Christmas shopping now. I've been scouring the catalogs these past weeks and ordering like a mad woman, with the UPS boxes beginning to take over my bedroom. And I'm already feeling panicky about the ones I still need to buy.

I'm a very organized person in some ways - not all - but it can be difficult. If I'm not ready for Christmas by the first of December I start hyperventilating. I need to have everything in my life laid out ahead of me in order of I don't sleep well at night. And as I approach any big event that I happen to be in charge of, I rarely sleep at all, my mind spinning with details and check lists. It's a curse!

So in the next few weeks I hope to get my Christmas shopping completed and start the wrapping process. If I can feel as though I'm in control by Thanksgiving I may actually be able to enjoy myself....